Top reasons to use a responsive Magento 2 theme

Nov 24, 2021 Val Kelmuts 7 min read

Top reasons to use a responsive Magento 2 theme

Data collected from over 1,540 ecommerce websites in the US shows that smartphones account for 71% of retail site visits and generate 56% of all online sales. With consumers demonstrating a strong preference for shopping on their mobile devices, Magento store owners must prioritize having a website with a responsive theme.

A responsive Magento 2 theme allows a website to dynamically adjust its layout based on the device screen size and resolution, creating a seamless and user-friendly shopping experience.

On the other hand, a non-responsive theme forces users to pinch and zoom in to view and engage with website content. This can be frustrating for site visitors, thereby increasing the likelihood of abandoning the website in favor of a competitor that uses a fully responsive theme.

What is the difference between a mobile-friendly and a responsive Magento 2 theme?

Merchants unfamiliar with the ins and outs of web design often use the terms mobile-friendly and responsive interchangeably when referring to a website’s theme. However, there’s a clear difference between the two.

Mobile-friendly themes

A mobile-friendly site is designed specifically for a particular device or screen size. This means the design is customized to each device and doesn’t change dynamically according to the end users’ device. Adopting such an approach can make it challenging to use a website on devices that it hasn’t been designed for.

In such a situation, a Magento mobile-friendly website will scale itself to fit the device without adjusting the size of each element independently. This can make it difficult to use the website on some devices, especially if frequently used elements like navigation items aren’t large enough to view or select easily.

Responsive themes

A responsive theme is designed using percentages to allow the website to scale and adapt to each device screen individually. A responsive design approach enables websites to change from a two or three-column layout on the desktop to a single-column layout on mobile. Moreover, all design elements, including text and media, also adapt to fit the device screen instantly.

Why you should use a responsive Magento 2 theme

1. Essential for SEO

Google began experimenting with mobile-first indexing back in 2016 and on July 1st, 2019, they enabled mobile-first indexing for all new websites globally. While this move was initially reserved for new websites on Google Search, as of April 2021, they’ve now moved all websites to mobile-first indexing.

This means, if you aren’t using a responsive Magento 2 theme for your website, you’re guaranteed to see a drop in your organic search rankings and even experience indexation issues. If Google’s bot cannot crawl and index the mobile version of your website, you can be sure it won’t show up in search results.

Even if you’re using a Magento website with a mobile-friendly version, you must ensure all primary content matches its desktop version precisely because nearly all indexed data of a website is based on its mobile version.

Suppose you’ve designed your website to display less content on its mobile version. In that case, you will experience traffic loss since Google would be unable to gather the same amount of information from your site as it did before.

You should make your website fully responsive to ensure you can leverage Google’s indexation effectively and rank your website in Google search. Failing to do so will mean you would have to rely on paid traffic for website visitors and sales.

2. Attracts more traffic

An immediate benefit of better SEO is driving more traffic to your Magento website. With a desktop-only website, you lose out on tablet and smartphone users. While tablets and smartphones will load your website, shoppers will be forced to zoom in and out multiple times to interact and navigate website content.

A responsive website theme ensures that no matter the device, your users are presented with a version of your site that adapts to their screen readily and allows them to navigate the site effortlessly.

3. Reduces design costs

While some merchants may believe that a responsive theme is expensive to implement, the opposite is true. The default Magento Blank and Luma themes implement a mobile-first responsive design approach straight out of the box using CSS and JavaScript.

With Magento 2, you’re guaranteed to have a responsive website without spending a dollar. Moreover, thanks to the rise in popularity of responsive websites, Magento theme development services are also becoming increasingly cost-effective.

Instead of investing in multiple versions of a website, you can build a single responsive website that’s capable of adapting to various devices. It also reduces the time to deploy updates and reduces the costs of designing and implementing new changes separately for each version.

4. Simplifies maintenance

Another significant benefit of using a responsive theme is the ease of maintenance it offers compared to owning and operating multiple versions. Even if you’ve already invested in a website with a separate mobile and desktop version, the cost of building and maintaining a new responsive theme for your online store will be lower in the long term.

Multiple versions require investments into different content strategies, individual design teams, and separate analytics to track website usage metrics. This adds to the complexity of owning an ecommerce business by increasing the number of moving parts in a single operation.

Implementing a fully responsive theme design means you only need to maintain a single version of your website. You no longer need to track multiple properties in Google Analytics and Search Console.

A single website means you don’t have to worry about setting up or troubleshooting multiple redirects to get your visitors to the correct version based on their device. A responsive theme also reduces the time spent managing different websites, allowing you and your development team to focus your time and energy on other important aspects.

5. Improves user experience

A responsive Magento theme design will help you provide a better user experience to your website visitors. Unlike non-responsive themes that distort your Magento website layout when viewed on incompatible devices, a responsive theme will load your website seamlessly.

When a customer using a smartphone lands on a desktop-only website, their device loads all elements the way they are meant to display on a desktop. And unfortunately, smartphones don’t always enjoy the same resources and internet speeds as desktop devices.

When a smartphone tries to load the desktop version of a website, it downloads media far larger than its display capabilities and wastes data and processing power. When it does this on mobile devices with poor network connectivity, you can be sure that it’ll take forever for the website to load.To make matters worse, users will be forced to pinch and stretch constantly to access the website content, once the site finishes loading.

On the other hand, a responsive theme will provide your visitors with website content sized for their device, eliminating the need to zoom and scroll to view it, improving their browsing experience.

6. Boosts conversion rate

Finally, when your website is SEO-friendly, gets more traffic, is easier to maintain, and provides a better shopping experience, you can expect an increase in its conversion rates. In a digital world where the customer is king, you should focus your efforts on providing the best buying experience possible.

You should simplify the buying process and create a conducive environment that helps them make their purchase in the most effortless and stress-free manner possible. To that end, a responsive theme eliminates all unnecessary redirects and broken website elements to create a seamless shopping experience.

It also helps you gain deeper insights into your website performance and enables you to identify pain points in its design more efficiently. This will allow Magento theme designers to work closely with your marketing team to address existing issues, perform A/B tests, and implement new design strategies more efficiently to boost website conversions.

Ready to switch to a responsive Magento 2 theme?

Responsive themes deliver attractive websites across all devices. They give you a significant edge over your competition using a desktop-only website and offer better returns on your design investments. With better SEO and the ability to attract more traffic, you can also enhance your brand awareness

Although ready-made themes work when you’re on a budget and help you get off your feet quickly, they’re often bloated and poorly coded, leading to unavoidable performance issues. This limits your ability to leverage the benefits of using a responsive theme by hurting your website’s SEO friendliness, user experience, and conversion rate.

When you’re ready to switch to a responsive theme, approaching a Magento design agency will work wonders for your business. Custom-designed themes provide you with the ability to leverage all the benefits of a responsive design while retaining complete control over your website performance.

You can choose the functionality you wish to integrate into your site and provide your customers with a user-friendly shopping experience. Even if you aren’t looking for a Magento theme designed from scratch, you can always reach out to an agency to help your business with its brand identity design or third-party design customizations.

About the author
Val Kelmuts
CEO & Co-Founder @ Staylime

Val Kelmuts is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Staylime, an ecommerce design and development company headquartered in Redwood City, California. Val has 10 years of experience in custom software development, sales management, and business development. He is the Adobe Commerce sales accredited specialist, Shopify business certified expert, and PMI member.

Adobe Commerce sales accredited specialist
Shopify business certified expert
PMI member